QUESTIONING THE ILLUSION OF BURYING THE DEAD IN SOME PART OF NIGERIA
Why do people spend much money during funerals? Why do we honour people more when they are dead than when they were alive? We build houses, we re-paint the old house, we repair the Zinc, we build more rooms and repair the damaged toilet and do some other things where as when this gentle man and woman was alive, you could not afford to give him/her one naira to buy drug to get himself or herself treated. On that day when he/she is dead, you kill the fattest cow, you gather the whole bags of rice in Nigeria, you make the whole village bubble in joy of things to eat and those to drink. What happen to this money when this man or woman was alive? Why don’t you collect this loan to treat him/her? Why don’t you create an oportunitunity to celebrate him/her? What kind of honour do you want to give him/her in the grave? We are all hypocrites!
I grew up seeing things. Things that made me want to lose myself into the ocean of thought. Things that left me in dire need of someone to talk to. Things that were abnormal when weigh from left to right and back and forth. There are those I think of changing and those I think I would never change and those things I am fighting desperately to change.
I grew up in a city where every year or every December period, people gather their deads to be buried in the village or nearby where they deem it fit for them to be buried. Some were buried in Aba Cemetery while others were taken to the village to be buried.
Then in Aba, everywhere is being covered by funeral posters from October to November. Those who want to bury their dead ones in December and those who wants to bury theirs by Easter start posting the posters around January or February just to create awareness to family members and friends and relations. It is more like the politicians who made a law in the country to avoid people pasting posters on walls of the cities and end up posting their election posters during their campaigns.
I grew up seeing posters everywhere in the cities of Abia state and its environs. I grew up trying to understand why it was like that but no one was there to explain to me. Some of these posters read “Gone so soon” “painful Exist” Transition to glory” “Glorious Home call” and so many write ups. I grew up learning that the only time family members, those you’ve not seen for a thousand years, come home was only when someone very important died in the family and his or her funeral is fixed by Christmas period or Easter.
My village decided to give time for this burials/funeral. Sometimes it could be from 20th of December to 29th and more than that. Then, other dates could be for Weddings and other ceremonies so that those that came to the village during Christmas to rest would still have time to rest. Although, in Nkporo kind of settings, there is nobody travelling to the Village during Christmas period to rest, you either have one family meeting to attend, or funeral /burial ceremonies , weddings or other things like that that engage you through out this period. You don’t go to the village during Christmas period to rest, you go there to exhaust yourself the more. That is how it goes. As a result of this, many don’t travel or fix their ceremonies during Christmas period because, it is full of ceremonies, things become more expensive, the roads become too busy and many more things happen during this festive period.
It’s a good thing to pay the last respect to the dead, it is good to honour them but if you did not honour them while they were alive, why honour them in death? Why spend much money and time organising how they will be committed to mother earth? Is this not insanity? I have gone to a burial ceremony where a man was buried with a car and chains of gold but when he was alive he never driven any car as such. He never wore any chain of gold on his neck, no, he never did. Some of us are hypocrites!
I have gone to a burial also where the woman was buried with a golden casket. There were up to fifteen canopies all over the place. Seven cows were killed. Her children came from home and abroad to bury her but when this woman was alive and was admitted in the hospital, I could remember that money was the issue for her treatment because her first son visited our family for money, it was lack of money that killed her. It was heartbreaking when I travelled down to the village for her burial to see how things went. Where did this money for this luxurious burial come from?
We are all victims of this, there are those people we never raised a pin for until when they are dead, you’ll start looking for how to honour them. You borrow money here and there in the name of paying your last respect! Why don’t you love or show them love when they were alive? There are those people out there that we never cared about, we never visited, we never showed mercy but when they are dead, we go extra mile to make sure we honour them or give them a befitting burial, those things they never had when they were alive. Are you not a hypocrite?
Love people and show them that you love them that is the best part of humanity. that us the best part of being a human! Love me when I’m alive not in death.
©John Chizoba Vincent